The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Office of Real Estate and Land Management is offering nearly $6 million in grants to purchase and improve public outdoor recreation areas across the state. Applicants may request up to $150,000 for a single project during the grant period.
“The NatureWorks program gives us a chance to invest in Ohio communities,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “We always want to encourage people to spend time outdoors. This program gives them a chance to make their local outdoor recreation sites better for their families, friends, and neighbors.”
NatureWorks is a state-funded grant program that provides up to 75% of project cost assistance to Ohio municipalities, counties, townships, joint recreation districts, park districts, and conservancy districts for acquisition or development of public outdoor recreation areas. Projects can include hiking trails, picnic shelters, nature centers, and so much more.
Applicants are encouraged to include one or more of the following criteria in their application:
- Acquisition and/or protection of land primarily for preservation of habitat, wetlands, forests, rivers, and/or lakes
- Primarily a land-based trail project
- Primarily a paddler access to waterway project
- Replacement/renovation/adaptation of existing deteriorated or outdated publicly used park facility
The NatureWorks application is available on the ODNR website. It must be postmarked on or before June 1. Recommendation announcements are planned for the fall of 2021. The grant period for awarded projects will expire on December 31, 2023.
NatureWorks projects are funded through the Ohio Parks and Natural Resources Bond Issue, which was approved by Ohioans in November of 1993. Additional legislation authorized the creation of the NatureWorks Grant Program.